IVF is only offered on the NHS if certain criteria are met. If you don't meet these criteria, you may need to pay for private treatment.

NICE recommendations

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) fertility guidelines make recommendations about who should have access to IVF treatment on the NHS in England and Wales.

But individual NHS integrated care boards (ICBs) make the final decision about who can have NHS-funded IVF in their local area, and their criteria may be stricter than those recommended by NICE.

Women under 40

According to NICE, women aged under 40 should be offered 3 cycles of IVF treatment on the NHS if:

If you turn 40 during treatment, the current cycle will be completed, but further cycles shouldn't be offered.

If tests show IVF is the only treatment likely to help you get pregnant, you should be referred straight away.

Women aged 40 to 42

The NICE guidelines also say women aged 40 to 42 should be offered 1 cycle of IVF on the NHS if all of the following criteria are met:

Again, if tests show IVF is the only treatment likely to help you get pregnant, you should be referred straight away.

IVF on the NHS

NHS trusts across England and Wales are working to provide the same levels of service. But the provision of IVF treatment varies across the country, and often depends on local ICB policies.

ICBs may have additional criteria you need to meet before you can have IVF on the NHS, such as:

Although NICE recommend up to 3 cycles of IVF should be offered on the NHS, some ICBs only offer 1 cycle, or only offer NHS-funded IVF in exceptional circumstances.

Find out how many cycles of IVF are funded by the NHS in each area of England on GOV.UK

You can also ask your GP or contact your local integrated care board (ICB) for more information about NHS-funded IVF treatment in your area.

Private treatment

If you're not eligible for NHS treatment or you decide to pay for IVF, you can have treatment at a private clinic.

Some clinics can be contacted directly without seeing your GP first, but others may ask for a referral from your GP.

The cost of private treatment can vary, but 1 cycle of IVF can cost up to £5,000 or more. There may be additional costs for medicines, consultations and tests.

Make sure you find out exactly what's included in the price during your discussions with the clinic.

Some people consider having IVF abroad, but there are a number of issues you need to think about, including your safety and the standard of care you'll receive. Clinics in other countries may not be as regulated as they are in the UK.

Further information

Page last reviewed: 1 August 2019
Next review due: 1 August 2019